Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By Cindy Glasson
Reporter Photographer 

School district absentee rate decreases


December 28, 2017

Studies have shown student absences have a detrimental effect on overall learning and grades. Students who miss a large number of classes are sometimes not able to catch up with their studies, and on a high school level, this can lead to higher drop out rates.

At the December meeting of the Hot Springs County School District #1 Board of Directors, data was presented that indicates a generally much lower absentee rate so far this year as compared to last year.

Dean of Students Catelyn Deromedi gathered the information from all three schools in the district, showing a comparison in absences for this first five months of school.

During August at Ralph Witters Elementary (RWE) the numbers show an average of seven daily absences during the 2016-17 school year, compared to just 3.8 daily absences this year.

September’s numbers were close, with 10.9 average absences last year, with nine this year. October is just about even, showing 11.6 average last year and 11.5 this year. November calculations have 13 average daily absences last year, with 10.7 for this year. December shows 10.6 last year, with 12.8 this year, the only month with a higher absentee rate.

These numbers amount to 5.3 fewer daily absences so far this school year than last.

Now the numbers at Thermopolis Middle School (TMS) don’t look as good, but there are two things to take into consideration.

One, there are approximately 20 more students enrolled at TMS this year than last, and two, there are some students with ongoing health issues that are requiring more days absent from school than normal.

With those things in mind, last year’s absences during the month of August were 3.7, compared to 16.10 this year. September had 6.5 absences last year, while this year there were 19.10. October was about the same, with 8.2 average daily absences last year compared to 20.9 daily absences this year. November’s numbers were similar, with 10.20 last year and 20 daily absences this year. During December last year, there were 9.4 students absent on average with 17.20 absent this December.

Those numbers add up to 55.3 more average daily absences at TMS this first five months than during the same timeframe in 2016-17.

The biggest drops are seen at Hot Springs County High School, where absenteeism has absolutely plunged.

During the 2016-17 school year, absences at the high school for the month of August showed 13.2 daily absences compared to 10.9 this year. A huge drop in September had 22.2 average absences last year, while this year there were just 14.7. October shows 27.9 daily absences last year with just 18 this year. And things just continue to get better, with November’s numbers tallying 31.7 last year, compared to just 18 daily absences this year. December shows less than half the absences of last year with 31 for 2016-17 and only 14.4 for this year.

Pulling those numbers together, you’ll see there are 50 fewer absences this year at the high school than there were last year.

The high school years are the most critical with ACT testing and the Hathaway Scholarship opportunities. The more classes a student misses during high school, the lower their chances of not only graduation on time, but they are less likely to attend college.

Absenteeism in just a single class can cause graduation issues.

During the 2016-17 school year, 99 students were absent 15 or more days in one or more classes. Thirty students were absent 30 or more days in one or more classes, and 13 students were absent 45 or more days in one or more classes.

Eleven students dropped out of school and 86 courses were failed during the year.

All of these things add up to Hot Springs County High School acquiring a “partially meeting expectations” rating with the Wyoming School Performance rating system.


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